By Rebecca Talley
At the beginning of this year, our Bishop asked us to read The Book of Mormon in 220 days. I was resistant because I've been studying the Old Testament. As a companion study to the Old Testament, I've been reading and studying a series of books by Cleon Skousen. I'm now reading the second book in the series, "The Third Thousand Years." I originally embarked on my study because I felt that I lacked knowledge of the history of the world and it made sense to me to begin at the very beginning. I've learned a tremendous amount and concluded that I wanted to continue with my study of the Old Testament.
Then that nagging feeling kept bothering me. You know the one I mean. It's the one that says if I truly supported the Bishop, I would follow his counsel and read The Book of Mormon. Our Bishop is a wonderful man and I love him dearly, mostly because he is such a wonderful husband to my sister and such a good father to my nieces and nephews, but also because I know he is the man that the Lord wants to lead our ward at this time. So I decided to read The Book of Mormon. I had some catch-up to do because my rebellious nature side-tracked me for a bit, but I am now caught up with the reading schedule.
Though I've read The Book of Mormon many times, it never ceases to amaze me what I learn each time I read it. This time through, I've been struck by things I'd never noticed before.
For example, when Lehi has his dream he finds the tree. Sariah, Sam, and Nephi "knew not whither they should go." (1 Nephi 8:14). In the next verse it says, " . . .I (Lehi) beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit . . ." To me, these scriptures tell us to look to our priesthood leaders to guide us to the path that will bring us back to our Heavenly Father. For many of us that priesthood leader is our husband who should lead our home in righteousness, but if that's not the case, we can look to our ward leaders, stake leaders, and general leaders to point us in the direction of eternal life. Through the priesthood, the Lord directs His people and it's our privilege and responsibility to follow our leaders.
We have been counseled by our prophets to read our scriptures daily, to have family and personal prayers each day, and to hold family home evenings each week. Sometimes, I think these seem so simple we may overlook their importance. In small ways, the Lord brings to pass great things. I have a firm testimony that following the counsel of our priesthood leaders will lead us to the path of happiness.
Something else I learned occurred when I read about the incident of Nephi's broken bow. While his family complained about the broken bow, Nephi went out and made another bow out of wood. He didn't sit on his behind and hope the Lord would provide a way, he did something about his situation. To me, this teaches us that the gospel requires our participation. It is not a spectator sport. In order to truly enjoy the blessings of the gospel and the Lord's help, we must be a full participant. We must do what we can, to the best of our ability, and the Lord will then make up for our shortfalls. We cannot sit around on our behinds and complain, we must be involved in the solutions to our problems and then the Lord can truly guide and help us. The more we are committed to and involved in the gospel, the more the Lord can teach us.
I'm thankful for this opportunity to read The Book of Mormon along with my ward members. Joseph Smith said it is the most correct of any book on the earth and that a man will become closer to God by reading it, than any other book. It does contain the fulness of the gospel, especially when we mine each page and find all the nuggets of truth contained therein.